Pickle juice. Who knew that was the secret ingredient to make a really great shrimp po’ boy sandwich?

To me a shrimp po’ boy needs three things:

Plenty of crispy shrimp
A crusty roll that’s soft on the inside
A rockin’ sweet and spicy mayo-based sauce

Looking through shrimp po’ boy recipes I decided to ditch the regular shrimp coating with cornmeal and go for panko instead (Japanese-style bread crumbs). That took care of #1.

As far as the bread, I went with a ciabatta roll so the bread would have enough heft to hold up to piles of crispified shrimp.

And the sauce. Thank you Annie’s Eats for the idea of mixing both Cajun spices and a hit of pickle juice in with the mayo. (I skipped the horseradish though.)

Is your mouth watering yet? It’s seafood time.

Recipe

Servings: 4 large sandwiches

Prep time: 20 minutes + frying


Ingredients

4 cups raw shrimp, thawed, tails removed

1 1/2 cups flour

3 eggs

3 cups panko

Tabasco (optional)

Vegetable oil

4 ciabatta rolls

Thin tomato slices

Shredded lettuce

Sauce ingredients

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2-1 Tbsp. pickle juice

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. Cajun spices

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Begin heating about 1 1/2″ vegetable oil in a wok to medium high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, pat the raw shrimp with a paper towel to make sure they’re dry.
  3. Create a dipping station with the flour in a shallow bowl, the eggs (whisked with a drop or two of Tabasco sauce) in another shallow bowl, and the panko in a third, shallow bowl.
  4. With the shrimp, dip them first into the flour, then the egg followed by the panko and place on a wire rack until you’re finished coating all of them.
  5. Add the shrimp in 3 batches to the hot oil. Fry for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Prepare the sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together and adjust the seasonings by adding more Tabasco or pickle juice.
  7. Slice the rolls 3/4 of the way through, slather with sauce on both sides then place several pieces of shrimp inside along with tomato slices and shredded lettuce.

Kids’ reactions: My teen declared the sandwich “so good” but was stuffed after about a half. My tween wanted hers sans sauce and finished the whole thing (she’s my shrimp girl). My youngest took one bite of the shrimp and reminded me, “I just don’t like shrimp, Mom,” and returned to her ham and cheese sandwich. Ah well, I’ll keep trying with her.

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